Tony HazellJun 21 2017

Class 3 national insurance is a top class investment

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Mr Webb tells me that Royal London has had 70,000 downloads of its factsheet Topping up your State Pension. I am not surprised. But while he is out there spreading the message, the government is keeping ominously quiet about this lucrative option.

 Dual priced car sales

Have you tried to buy a car recently? It is not a pleasant experience. I went to one garage supposedly running a promotion with new cars at £500 over cost.

I walked out after two hours when I could not get a cash price. All the salesman was interested in was selling me a personal contract plan (PCP).

I went to another dealership looking at another car. Once again, the salesmen only wanted to sell a PCP. Incredibly, the price was higher if I want to pay cash.

This sort of dual pricing – with a cheaper loan if you took insurance – was barred in the mortgage world more than two decades ago. Yet dual pricing is rife in the car sales industry.

Car dealerships and their sales staff are now tools of banks and loan companies, there to push credit indiscriminately at customers.

When this happened in the banking world it ended in tears for the industry and customers. I suspect the car industry will go the same way.

This is the FCA’s territory. It needs to take a much firmer grip on this sector because consumers are being taken for a ride even if they do not yet realise it.

Miserable election result

The election result left me feeling thoroughly miserable for one reason above all else. Philip Hammond is to remain in place at the Treasury.

I fear that means a renewed assault on the self-employed – unless the Tories have learned the lessons of the election campaign. 

That is, if you assault your core voters – and for the Tories that is pensioners, homeowners and the self-employed – they will kick back.

They have dumped plans to squeeze pensioners, but what about probate tax, Class 4 national insurance rises and filing tax returns every quarter? 

Mr Hammond and his colleagues might need another reality check when we are next dragged kicking and screaming to the polls.

Tony Hazell writes for the Daily Mail's Money Mail section